An official South Africa-Germany co-production, Layla Fourie, is currently shooting in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, just north of Durban. Co-production partners on this feature film are Germany’s Pandora Film Produktion and South Africa’s Dv8 Films. Co-producers from Holland and France are also attached to the project.
Says producer Jeremy Nathan of Dv8: “We are shooting about 40% of the film in locations such as Tongaat and Ballito, because of their beauty, efficient infrastructure and ease of shooting. These factors are common to the whole of KZN.
“This is not the first time that I’ve shot a feature film in KZN. A few years ago I shot IZulu Lami here. It was a good experience with a great cast and a good director (Madoda Ncayiyana).’
He notes that some unit and art department crew, as well as some cast, who are working on Layla Fourie have been sourced from Durban.
A thriller about a young single mother in South Africa who receives a harrowing job assignment as a polygraphist, Layla Fourie is directed by Pia Marais. In 2007 the South African-born, Germany-based Marais won the Best First Feature Film award at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) for Die Unerzogenen (The Unpolished).
Layla Fourie is due for release in the early part of 2013.
Meanwhile, the Durban Film Office (DFO), which is tasked with marketing the city of Durban as a film location for both local and international productions, plans to embark on road trips to Cape Town and Johannesburg to meet with service providers.
“Most of the work that comes into Durban is service work generated by production companies based in Johannesburg and Cape Town. So, we believe it’s important to re-engage with these producers and encourage them to shoot in Durban,’ says the DFO’s acting CEO Toni Monty.
The DFO is also gearing up for the 3rd Durban FilmMart (DFM) – a joint venture between the DFO and the Durban International Film Festival – which provides selected African filmmakers with the opportunity to pitch film projects to leading financiers. The DFM also facilitates networking opportunities in order for African and international filmmakers to form alliances for future collaborations, as well as a series of masterclasses and workshops led by international guest experts on the subject of film finance models and project packaging.
Monty elaborates: “The team has just finalised collation of the 2012 project submissions which are currently being evaluated by the reader panel. It is a very exciting time for the DFM team. I have personally noted an improved quality of projects this year and I am looking forward to receiving the official 2012 selection at the end of April.
“The project evaluation process also guides the team as to the profile of overseas participants that need to be targeted – it’s like a matchmaking process – and the team will be working diligently over the next six weeks to finalise these preparations in good time for the event which runs from 20 to 23 July.
We are in the process of reviewing several DFO projects and part of the process involves working with very young filmmakers in the city who are making films according to the Nollywood model.”
“These proactive emerging filmmakers have approached the DFO for help,’ explains Monty. “They have recently established the Ethekwini Filmmakers Association to represent emerging filmmakers in Durban and we’re working with them to better understand their particular market. The DFO has been conducting ongoing research into the exact workings of a number of micro-filmmaking models, including the Nollywood and even Bollywood models, to see how the DFO could support a similar local model.
“The Ethekwini filmmakers are a new breed of independent filmmakers, even smaller than what are known as “micro filmmakers’. They make films for between R100 000 and R150 000. They have captive audiences and township stars are beginning to emerge.
“It is an interesting model that should not be ignored when considering the developmental challenges in our local industry. I believe there are some important lessons to be learned here. This dynamic is not unique to Durban and is happening in other South African cities but I don’t think enough attention has been given to this space.
Screen Africa magazine- May 2012